- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2012

Maryland’s highest court rejected an appeal Friday by state Democrats who were hoping to block a referendum on the state’s new congressional map.

The Maryland Court of Appeals filed an order upholding the state Board of Elections’ decision to hold a November referendum on the map after it received signatures from more than 59,000 registered voters hoping to get it put on the ballot.

The Maryland Democratic Party sued the board this summer, alleging that it erroneously validated thousands of signatures that were collected using the website MDPetitions.com.

State law requires that petitioners submit 55,736 valid signatures to get a law put on the ballot.

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge rejected the lawsuit last week, and the Court of Appeals‘ ruling reaffirms the decision.

Petitioners have argued that the state’s Democratic leaders rigged the map, which was drawn by Gov. Martin O’Malley and approved last year by the General Assembly, to increase their party’s influence and dilute the influence of minority voters.

If voters reject the map this Election Day, Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, would have to propose a new map that would be voted upon by the assembly.

The map would replace the current map in time for the 2014 elections.